After four and a half years on the sidelines, Phil King is ready to hit the streets of Jay.
On Saturday, Aug. 12, if all goes as planned, King will join the hundreds of fellow car enthusiasts taking part in the 19th Annual Cruise Night in Jay, as he drives his newly restored 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle in the annual parade.
For King, who works for the City of Jay, taking part in this year's cruise night has layers of meaning.
"This is something I've been looking forward to," King said. "I volunteer for the Eucha Fire Department. We always stage by Pizza Hut. Every year, I watch the cars."
It also reminds him of a promise made to his friend, and fellow car enthusiasts, the late Bob Daughtery, whom King purchased the car from several years ago.
"He was going to drive it in [at the first] cruise night," King said. "Three years after I bought it, he died. I didn't get it finished in time."
King said Daughtery owned the car for more than eight years, but had not made any significant repairs.
"I really liked Chevelles," King said. "I had one as a teenager. I wanted another one, and he finally sold it to me."
King said he's always liked the style of the Chevelle, calling it a "classic muscle car."
"I had my first one at the age of 17," King said. "I sold it - I was just a kid, a dumb kid - I wanted to sell it so I could purchase a motorcycle."
Now, at the age of 47, King finally has a Chevelle back in his possession. With the help of Chris Caywood and Steve Sloan, King has spent much of the last four years building his dream vehicle.
He purchased the car for $3,500. With a new engine, rebuilt transmission, and everything from a new headliner to the chrome, King admits he has made a significant investment in his Chevelle.
"I just want to get it into really good shape," King said, adding that Caywood has not only rebuilt the vehicle, but also provided him with a deeper knowledge of the Chevelle's inner workings.
King has a few more additions slated for his car - which he has yet to name. He plans to install a classic radio in the dash, with a hidden, modern system in the glove box.
At some point, he will add power steering, an air conditioning system and disc brakes to the front wheels. .
"It's 90 percent done," King said. "But it will never be completely done. Anybody with a hot rod will tell you, you'll never be satisfied."
For now, King's car is tagged and insured - for the first time in more than a decade.
In the next few days, King plans to install the grill and bumpers. He plans to be at cruise night if he can ensure his car is "street legal."
"Even if it's not [completely] done, I'll be there. The last four to five years, I've got to sit and watch the cars go by," King said. "After four and a half years of wanting to have my own, unless my motor blows up, I'll be there."
If You Go
The 19th Annual Jay Cruise Night, sponsored by members of the Jay Chamber of Commerce, takes place at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, as the cars begin to rumble and roar down the middle of town on Main Street.
The event, which began with less than 40 cars, now boasts several hundred registered and unregistered vehicles, as well as hundreds of spectators.
From classics to customs, from street rods to motorcycles, the streets will be filled with vehicles of all shapes and sizes.
"My favorite part is the cars," explained Jay Chamber of Commerce President Becki Farley. "I also like to see how the town swells.
"Cruise night is a rite of passage. It's the end of the summer, we get to see the whole town come together to mark the end of the summer."
About the 'cruise'
Pre-registration is $5. Registration on the day of the event will take place beginning at 3 p.m., in the lobby of Grand Savings Bank, Jay.
Lineup will begin after 6 p.m., in the parking lot of the Sam Hider Health Clinic, at 859 East Melton Drive, across the street from the bank.
The registration and line-up is moved from the regular location at Bulldog Arena on the campus of Jay High School due to the ongoing construction.
Registration on the day of the show is $10, with all proceeds helping to offset the expenses of the event.
Those wanting to register for the show may park at the Delaware County Courthouse Square may take a shuttle, provided by the chamber, to and from the bank.
The parade lap will begin at 7 p.m., at the Sam Hider Health Clinic with many vehicles making the complete "lap" through downtown Jay to the "Y Store" on south Highway 59.
Pre-registered cruisers in the parade may park along the Delaware County Courthouse Square. Others may continue to cruise for the remainder of the evening.
Entertainment and food vendors will be available on the courthouse lawn. The top 75 vehicles will receive awards.
At least 11 awards - sponsored by area businesses - have been added to the event. Additional awards include Mayor’s Choice, Jay Police Department Choice, Jay Fire Department Choice, V & V Pharmacy Award, Cruise Committee Choice, Redneck Award, first through third place for high school youth, first through third place for largest cruise club participation, and a cash award.
The awards ceremony will take place at 9 p.m. at the courthouse gazebo. For more information, persons interested may visit http://jaychamber.org/cruise.htm, or call 918-253-8698.
With large amounts of traffic and a large number of people, ensuring safety for cars and pedestrians alike is an important task.
Jay Chamber President Becki Farley said emergency personnel will be located on the north and south side of town in case of an emergency outside of cruise night and to ensure emergency personnel do not have to travel through the traffic to reach one side of town or another.
Jay police officers will be on hand, ensuring drivers handle vehicles in a safe manner. They will also enforce street laws through the day on Cruise Night.
Throughout the evening, JPD officers - with the assistance from area and county officials - will watch for drivers operating vehicles in a “manner not reasonable and proper” or “recklessly driving."
Officers will not enforce the state statute which makes operating a vehicle without a muffler a fineable offense during Cruise Night, but open headers must be capped by 10 p.m.
There will be no ATV’s allowed during this years event, and all vehicles must be “street legal”.
Fines for operating a vehicle in a manner not reasonable and proper is $200, with $40 court cost.
The fine for reckless driving - or driving a motor vehicle in a careless or wanton manor without regard of public safety - is $200, with $40 court costs.
The fine for operating a motor vehicle without a muffler, in good working order, is $50 with $40 court cost.
Note: Drag racing and excessive spinning of tires (such as burnouts, power stalls, etc.), falls under the statute of “operating vehicle in a manner not reasonable and proper” or, depending on the circumstances, may rise to the level of “Reckless Driving.”